The article below is reprinted from CounterPunch, January 12, 2011. Since the article was first published, Washington has added the slaughter of Libyans, Yemeni, and Syrians along with that of wolves to its accomplishments. An addendum describes the wicked new "sport" of "canned hunting."
Hribal's "Fear of the Animal Planet"
A Brief for Animals
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Jason Hribal in a book just off the CounterPunch/AK press, Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance, regales the reader with tales of animal rebellion and escape from captivity. In Hribal's account, when big cats, elephants, and orcas injure or kill their trainers and keepers they are inflicting retribution for the abuse and exploitation that they suffer.
One of Hribal's most convincing examples is Tatiana, a Siberian tiger in the San Francisco zoo. On December 25, 2007, Tatiana cleared the 12-foot-high wall of her enclosure to decimate the teenagers who enjoyed themselves tormenting her. Tatiana ripped one of her tormenters to pieces, and, during her 20 minutes of freedom, she searched the zoo grounds for the other two, ignoring zoo visitors, park employees, and emergency responders. As Hribal puts it, "Tatiana was singular in her purpose." She could have killed any number of people, but ignored them in pursuit of her tormentors.
Obviously, Tatiana could have escaped from her enclosure whenever she had wished, but had accepted her situation until torment ended her acceptance.
Most people, were they to read Hribal's book, would have a hard time with the intent that he ascribes to animals. Like the executives of circuses, zoos, and Sea World, most humans ascribe captive animal attacks to unpredictable wild instinct, to accident, or to the animal being spooked by noise or the behavior of some third party. Hribal confronts this view head on. Orcas purposely drown their trainers, and elephants purposely kill their keepers. Captive animals seek escape.
Hribal presents captive animals as exploited and abused slaves serving the profits of their owners. Just as human slaves ran away, captive animals run away. Hribal tells the stories of many animal escapes.
He also tells the story of animal executions. Animals that do not accept their slave status, rebel and cease to perform have been executed in the most barbaric and cruel ways. One can hardly be surprised in these days of "the war on terror" at human cruelty to animals when humans are equally cruel to humans. The video -- allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning who is confined by the US military in conditions worse than captive animals -- of American soldiers intentionally murdering news reporters and civilians for the fun of it, demonstrates the evil and wickedness that finds its home only in humans.
In contrast, animals do not commit wicked and evil acts. Satan's sphere belongs to humans. Predator animals kill to eat, but, unlike human hunters, they do not kill for fun.
Lions bring down a wildebeest or an antelope; they do not decimate the entire herd.
In contrast, I have heard hunters describe shooting 1,000 doves in one morning and 500 prairie dogs in one afternoon. It was all done for the fun of killing. Humans get pleasure from killing, but there is no evidence that animals do.
So, we are faced with a paradox: a wicked life form holds a non-wicked life form in captivity. Why did God give the wicked dominion over the non-wicked?
A number of Hribal's examples of animal abuse date back far in time. Today some of the human species who interact with animals follow a more respectful approach. If animals, as Hribal says, respond to their abuse with intelligence, would they not also respond to affection and respect with intelligence?
The answer seems to be that animals do. We have the case of Christian the lion, the cub rescued from Harrod's department store in London by two Englishmen who raised an African male lion in their London apartment and exercised him on the Church green.
When Christian became too large to continue living in the London flat, the Englishmen consulted an expert, transported Christian to Africa and released him. A year or so later, the roommates who had raised Christian missed him and returned to Africa to find him. They were warned by conventional wisdom that Christian was now wild and would be a danger to them if they encountered him.
As the videos available on YouTube show, when the men found Christian the lion was overcome with joy and lavished affection on his friends. Christian was forming a pride, and the wild lionesses were content with the human company and to be petted by men. The video shows them all -- Christian, lionesses, cubs, and men curled up together taking a nap.
There are a number of videos available online of people who have raised cougars (mountain lions) and bob cats and live with them in their homes. Perhaps the most extraordinary story is that of Casey Anderson, a wildlife naturalist who found two newborn grizzly cubs next to a dead mother bear and took them home to save.